Tuesday, October 30th 2012

Old Technologies Like Optical Drives Were Holding Apple Back: Phil Schiller

Apple's new iMac and MacBook Pro owe their sleek, slim design to the lack of optical drives, a feature consumers found very much wanting, which can still be overcome using external USB optical drives. In an interview with Tom's Hardware, Apple senior VP of global marketing, Phil Schiller stressed the importance of letting go of optical drives. "These old technologies are holding us back. They're anchors on where we want to go," he said. "We find the things that have outlived their useful purpose. Our competitors are afraid to remove them. We try to find better solutions - our customers have given us a lot of trust. In general, it's a good idea to remove these rotating medias from our computers and other devices. They have inherent issues — they're mechanical and sometimes break, they use power and are large. We can create products that are smaller, lighter and consume less power."

On how newer media like Blu-ray don't quite make optical drives an obsolete component, given that it's fast taking over as the mainstream physical home video medium, Schiller said that customers have stopped asking Apple for Blu-ray drives, and that it comes with its own set of issues that make it unfit for desktops and notebooks. "Blu-ray has come with issues unrelated to the actual quality of the movie that make [it] a complex and not-great technology…So for a whole plethora of reasons, it makes a lot of sense to get rid of optical discs in desktops and notebooks." Apple, with its iTunes service is one the leading digital content distribution businesses, including movie rentals and purchases.

Source: Tom's Hardware
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56 Comments on Old Technologies Like Optical Drives Were Holding Apple Back: Phil Schiller

#1
Woody112
I hear a lot of people complaining about music CD's but yet everyone is using MP3 players. No one caries a CD player around because there too bulky. How many out of those same people still use the CD player in their car. The technology has been obsolete for some time now. Everything is moving to solid state media and the only thing that is causing the masses to hold on to these old technologies is namely blue ray. I have bought a blue ray player for my old build a few years ago. And still never use it. Yes I have a blue ray player for TV but thats the only place I actually use it. People are tired of these big and bulky laptops. Desk tops are getting smaller, the only ones actually holding on to these old techs and large desk tops are us builders and enthusiasts. All my games I down load and move to a SD Card for back up. I don't have to worry about media getting scratched, No bulky CD cases. Even my laptop I removed the Optical drive and installed another HDD for storage of entertainment media With a 512gb SSD as my primary drive. If I really need a optical drive for any reason I have a small external one collecting dust. I would much rather have room for newer tech and more tech than have an optical drive.
It is time the optical drive went away. It is no longer needed and we all know it to be true.
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#2
mtosev
apple be trollin' again
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#3
Covert_Death
i just wish we would get to the point where we buy our programs on flash drives or SDCards instead of discs....... as soon as this happens i will no longer use my blu-ray drive... i do however think that it could free up some much needed room in laptops though when we finally go that route
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#4
3870x2
by: Covert_Death
i just wish we would get to the point where we buy our programs on flash drives or SDCards instead of discs....... as soon as this happens i will no longer use my blu-ray drive... i do however think that it could free up some much needed room in laptops though when we finally go that route
I think the issue is that disks are extremely cheap to manufacture. A 32GB solid state medium is still quite expensive to sell, your movies/games would be much more expensive. This could work quite well for albums.
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#5
Wile E
Power User
CDs and Blu Ray are still relevant, at least until digital copies achieve the same quality.

There's no point in having a factory Blu Ray drive in a Mac, as it doesn't support BD playback anyway. Have to buy a 3rd party app. That said, I see no issue in going external for as often as these drives are typically used.
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#6
Covert_Death
but if they become the standard for selling physical media prices would free fall

and I think the biggest one would be OS's .... imagin buying win9 on a flash drive... i know you can set them up that way but that requires a currently running PC... being able to purchase win9 on solid state would be amazing
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#7
Filiprino
Cloud space is not infinite, it's actually very limited and highly priced.
Solid state storage is also pricey, even more than blu-ray.

Apple is being stupid, again. What about Apple Maps?

Not to mention the privacy policy of iTunes. Collect data from 13 year olds and up, location data included. And readily available for governments and third parties.
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#8
NC37
I'd like to talk to apple face to face and say..."Oh really? Then why is it when you look up external optical drives on Amazon, Newegg, etc...you find most of the reviews by Apple owners?"
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#9
1d10t
by: NC37
I'd like to talk to apple face to face and say..."Oh really? Then why is it when you look up external optical drives on Amazon, Newegg, etc...you find most of the reviews by Apple owners?"
Or in other word Apple had the shortest lifespan of optical drives,so they decided to get rid of it :p

My ol' Unibody already had third replacement in 2 years :shadedshu
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#10
Depth
Blu-Ray has already been developed, why not spend some money on miniaturisation for a product similar to micro-CDs?



Hard to kick the market around though, it's pretty much up to the porn industry to decide.
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#11
Rhyseh
Sure going to make it difficult to add that Blue-Ray your mother bought you for Christmas to your digital library without an optical drive...... Same for those CD's you legitimately purchased and haven't yet added them to your iTunes library....

Apple's products are like a car that drives for you.... Except it will only drive you to the Apple store.... when you pay it to take you there..... and costs 30% more than the other self-driving cars....
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#12
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
by: Wile E
CDs and Blu Ray are still relevant, at least until digital copies achieve the same quality.

There's no point in having a factory Blu Ray drive in a Mac, as it doesn't support BD playback anyway. Have to buy a 3rd party app. That said, I see no issue in going external for as often as these drives are typically used.
Not to mention bandwidth. A lot of the USA is still way behind the curve on available bandwidth as well as people on the go. Those people are still going to opt for DVDs and Blu-Rays over streaming content. Apple basically just lost all those potential customers. Bad for them, good for everyone else.
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#13
Isenstaedt
by: btarunr
But then aren't most AAA titles tied to an online service anyway (G4W, Origin, Steam, etc.) Physical media really is losing relevance. Even Windows is sold as digital download.
How's that? When you buy a game on Steam it downloads and installs it. But Steam is installed in the operating system. Which program would download and install the Windows? :confused:
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#14
Mussels
Moderprator
by: Isenstaedt
How's that? When you buy a game on Steam it downloads and installs it. But Steam is installed in the operating system. Which program would download and install the Windows? :confused:
upgrade installs that make bootable media.


nothing stops you downloading windows 7 on a secondary/friends PC
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#15
WaroDaBeast
by: 1d10t
i'm still prefer hard copies.heck,i'm still having those vinyl from ancient 80's and IBM Ultrium tape for server backup :D
call me idiot as my nick,but hard media never let me down.they stand any deletion,virus attack,denial of service,electric surge.always stay intact except your homeroom mate steal it from you...
That's pretty much the point. That and already having a CD/DVD/BD collection.

Of course, that doesn't mean everyone should have to use optical drives. In this day and age, purchasing or renting digital should be an option. I can only imagine the people who've got a Blu-ray reader in their living room not wanting to watch movies on their computer.
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#16
Mussels
Moderprator
by: WaroDaBeast
That's pretty much the point. That and already having a CD/DVD/BD collection.

Of course, that doesn't mean everyone should have to use optical drives. In this day and age, purchasing or renting digital should be an option. I can only imagine the people who've got a Blu-ray reader in their living room not wanting to watch movies on their computer.
my house is one of those houses. the BD's are slower and clunkier, whereas we can stream our massive collection of HD video files to any HDTV in the house (of which there are 3).
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#17
Wile E
Power User
by: FordGT90Concept
Not to mention bandwidth. A lot of the USA is still way behind the curve on available bandwidth as well as people on the go. Those people are still going to opt for DVDs and Blu-Rays over streaming content. Apple basically just lost all those potential customers. Bad for them, good for everyone else.
No, they didn't. Apple just made the companies that sell external ODDs more money.

For as often as the typical consumer uses their optical drive, they won't care that it's not built in. They'll just use an external when they need it, then shove it in a drawer or bag pocket when they're done.

I actually DO use my optical on occasion, and I still wouldn't have a problem with that.
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#18
NC37
by: Rhyseh
Sure going to make it difficult to add that Blue-Ray your mother bought you for Christmas to your digital library without an optical drive...... Same for those CD's you legitimately purchased and haven't yet added them to your iTunes library....
Well it also doesn't help that the industry is still gung ho on DRM for videos. They've practically given up on music finally but movies...gah. I don't want to steal it, I want to buy it and then encode it for use on another device! What the heck is wrong with that? I'm still buying it! MP3s are ok but MP4s aren't? Sure wish Japan would wake up and stop letting the Sony and their other home grown companies bully them with DRM. If it broke there then it would easily start breaking elsewhere.
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#19
iTile
profit margins for apple, stock price jump expected

"We try to find better solutions - our customers have given us a lot of trust."

I read that as

"We aren't bothered to find better solutions - our customers have given us a lot of money"

I'm sorry but your that argument is void. I like holding my copy of battlefield 3 in my hand and say. I bought this, i own this. Eventually we as customers/consumers are going to lose our right to say we "own" our digital copy. Thus eventually everything you have on your HDD won't actually be yours. you'll just be paying rent and be able to use it within your right to use it but you don't own it. Apple will probably do that and is pushing hard toward it. Apple users therefore lack the freedom to choose what they want and only take what is being offered to them.

Also this will be a financially clever move from Apple to do this because they'll charge you the price of a kidney for your external devices. Their excuse will be because it uses thunderbolt, its faster.

Similar to the iPhone thunderbolt connector (which is most cases is Thunderbolt-to-USB 2.0) basically nullifies its performance claims. Thus it can be argued that its false advertising and misleading to the consumers/customers. But they making money and they have the lawyers to back it up. And will probably just change the packaging details of your to include (thunder bolt speeds will require thunderbolt-to-thunderbolt connector).

All in All Apple is taking a leaflet from Nintendo and try to minimize manufacturing costs to include more accessibility into an all in one solution. Instead everything new thing for their product you'll have to buy seperately. Thus maximizing the profit margin on each possible device that you'll use on that product. Another thing I'd like to point out is that Apple will most probably use this to create ultra thin products to counter microsoft's Surface product because it has no optical drive.

But i Like nintendo and they quite fun (well they use to be cheaper but the Wii-U will be quite expensive mostly due to the tablet like controller, which can be bought separately surprise surprise, if you bought a wii-U bundle that excluded the controller).

Its all about profit margin's and beating the same quarter of the previous year. Nowhere is it customer centric. But that is how business works, it won't make sense to run a business if you not making money. If Apple continues to pursue this Their stock price will jump because investors will see it as another innovating way to double profits, due to customers not realising that there are better options other than a half eaten apple.
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#20
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: Isenstaedt
Which program would download and install the Windows? :confused:
Windows Upgrade Assistant.
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#21
Filiprino
by: Mussels
my house is one of those houses. the BD's are slower and clunkier, whereas we can stream our massive collection of HD video files to any HDTV in the house (of which there are 3).
Not in my book. Current HDDs are as quick as Blu-Ray. 16x Blu-Ray = 72MB/s. No fragmentation for the main video file which is a big sequential chunk of 30 GB.

And if you compare it to Internet speeds, you should have an Internet of 800 Mbps to match a Blu-Ray, only one disc.
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#22
Mussels
Moderprator
by: Filiprino
Not in my book. Current HDDs are as quick as Blu-Ray. 16x Blu-Ray = 72MB/s. No fragmentation for the main video file which is a big sequential chunk of 30 GB.

And if you compare it to Internet speeds, you should have an Internet of 800 Mbps to match a Blu-Ray, only one disc.
umm. i never said the read speed of the disk was the problem. i meant usage. it can often take several minutes to get a BD movie out of the shelf, out of the case, into the BR player, wait for all the anti piracy ads, start the movie, wait for more ads, then get going.


or, just play it from a digital media server we have more or less instantly, on any smart device in the house.
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#23
Filiprino
Oh well, I see. But to get those movies there you need a blu-ray reader and having backups in blu-ray for static content like movies or games is a better option.

Games on the other side are better played from your hard disk, but having them in a disk is an advantage, and services like Steam let you backup your games in disks, as oposed to Apple's AppStore.

Also, if the AppStore or iTunes stop selling an app or song, it disappears from your list of content. Steam doesn't do that.
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#24
djcl.ear
Apart from the above arguments supporting optical media usage, we have not mentioned the main problem yet unsolved by most any other format, with the exception of Optical Disks... namely: How to do effective long term retrieval of our personal self-generated data.

For almost a century, we have kept photo albums lying somewhere. Just a few people manage to have and keep film and video on varying formats, but at present, most of us are producing and storing hundreds of photos, videos, texts and other PERSONAL data, that many would want to keep for decades and some of that even to pass to future generations...
So far the "lying somewhere photo albums" filled the bill, but as we now behave, the sheer amount of data, and more importantly the retrieval system where we do it, is far from long term sustainable in safe terms in its actual form.

This has been debated extensively in academic and other relevant circles, and even The Library of Congress has recently renewed the way it stores data.
As I see it, people has not yet decided on a definitive storage format (or have not realized the need of it) and so we are ever migrating the data (mostly digital) from a holder (Flash, HDD) to another (a new HDD), which sometimes gets lost or has already started to get rotten in the vaults (film, tape video). In practical terms we keep on switching or losing until we realize -and the suppliers respond- that there is a good, solid solution available and ease to use.

So far, well stored Optical media (DVD, BluRay or newer) is the only solution with good enough parameters to ensure decades of data survival. Many 80s and 90s well kept CDs and DVDs remain at very good shape (despite claims that they would rotten within a few years of use) when stored at dry, low lighted environments. And -if anything- this is an area where manufacturers could easily release longer life competing products. It is a miracle that in these times of fear-sales everywhere, this market has been forgotten at large.

And then, why not buy an external Optic Player recorder, we will usually use once a semester or a year? The answer lies close to why we center the functions we seldom and often use, residing on a desktop home or office system, working together with mobile platforms, and all integrated... We don't want boxes of different gear disperse around the house. At much, we need functional, stylish libraries where to place the data along the books or other seldom visited info we want to have close and ordered.
Apple and actually ALL related manufacturers and sellers seem to have missed these ideas altogether. Short sight -again- I guess...
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#25
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: MT Alex
I haven't had an optical drive in my build for quite some time, and I rarely miss it.
I still install OS's via DVD. I guess I should let go.
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